Spring 2020 issue of Bahá’í Canada

Posted: 2020/05/12

The cover of this issue will be a familiar image to many as the coronavirus pandemic has necessitated alternative means of connection while conditions of physical distancing are being observed. The House of Justice released two stunning messages amid this crisis – at Naw Rúz and Ridván – acknowledging both the widespread suffering caused by the virus and “the resilience and undiminished vitality of the Bahá’í world.”[i] It brought special attention to the qualities required of this time, including “unity and fellow feeling, knowledge and understanding, a spirit of collective worship and common endeavour.”[ii]

We shared several stories of resilience on bahaicanada.bahai.ca as the friends adapt their activities, use creative means to communicate hope and offer service to those in need. Of course, feelings of confinement and separation are among the unexpected challenges being faced. The article “Remember My days,” inspired by Bahá’u’lláh’s counsel in the Tablet of Ahmad, reminds us of the suffering the Blessed Beauty willingly endured and includes a selection of first-hand accounts from those who were honoured to attain His presence.

It is in this context that the Bahá’í world enters the final year of the Five Year Plan. In this issue we reflect on some of the experience of the Canadian Bahá’í community over the last four years – experience that is vital to the work ahead. “Suffice it to say that,” the House of Justice wrote, “four years into the current Plan, the tireless supporters of the Cause have brought the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh to the strongest position in which it has ever been in its history.”[iii]

Before the current crisis, the National Assembly brought together the Counsellors, Auxiliary Board members, regional agencies and collaborators for an institutional meeting that focused on sharing insights and lessons learned in the teaching field, the diffusion of which is critical to advancing the work of the Plan. Our feature article, “National institutional meeting fosters a collective vision for growth” shares more from this inspiring gathering.

In formulating this issue, we considered how each of the three protagonists of the Plan – the individual, the institutions, and the community – has advanced over the last four years. This prompted us to invite the Spiritual Assembly of Toronto to reflect on the development of its own capacity during this time. The article, “Enhancing institutional capacity: Some initial insights gained by the Spiritual Assembly of Toronto,” conveys the unique perspective of a Local Spiritual Assembly.

Additionally, in the article “A brief history of the development of the institution of Huqúqu’lláh,” the Board of Trustees of Huqúqu’lláh in Canada adapted several sources in order to provide an overview of how this law has been gradually introduced and implemented, in parallel with the development of the Trusteeship, from the time of the Báb until the present day.

The article, “Collaborative initiatives stimulate the intellectual life of the Bahá’í community,” contributed by Eric Farr, shares experience from the Association for Bahá’í Studies as it endeavours to accompany groups of friends in various fields to correlate certain discourses with Bahá’í concepts and our experience as a community. How fitting that in its Ridván message the House of Justice observed that, as a result of the health crisis, “Leaders, prominent thinkers, and commentators have begun to explore fundamental concepts and bold aspirations that, in recent times, have been largely absent from public discourse.”

“Insights from Initial Impulse: The first branch course of Book 5” conveys several developments with regard to the junior youth spiritual empowerment program in light of a recently released unit of a branch course of Ruhi Book 5. Youth are also at the forefront in the article “Our lifechanging time as pioneers,” as two sisters, Kalila and Chandyn Hamilton-Bachiu, both high school students, tell the story of how they pioneered to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. to initiate the junior youth program, helping the cluster advance towards the conditions necessary for an intensive program of growth.

We hope that the article “Group visits to the Shrine in Montreal,” which shares the reflections of several neighbourhood groups that visited the Shrine over the past year, will inspire the friends to turn their thoughts toward this blessed house as their prayers intensify during this time. We look forward to continuing to follow the stories of your resilience and creativity as “The dynamics of community life, so important for collective progress, will not be subdued.”[iv]

Spring 2020 issue

[i] From the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the World, Ridván 2020.

[ii] From the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the World, Naw Rúz 177.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] From the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the World, Ridván 2020.